Rwanda cancels nonexistent Symphony deal
By Anthony Clark
Posted 21 August 2012
The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema) claims that it has cancelled a deal with Symphony Environmental for the supply of “environmentally friendly plastic bags”.
According to local reports, the company was supplying products using its d2w additive through Alternative Packaging Solution, a Rwandan company, for the past two years. Eight tonnes of bags made using Symphony’s oxo-biodegradable technology were apparently imported into the country.
Norbert Duhuze, the director of Environmental Regulation and Pollution Control Unit at Rema, told Rwanda’s New Times newspaper that the contract was terminated because the polythene bags being supplied were not biodegradable as per the terms of the agreement.
“They convinced us that their plastic bags can be biodegraded. But within six months, we discovered the bags take longer to be biodegraded, we cannot accept that because it’s dangerous to the environment,” Duhuze told the newspaper.
However, Michael Stephen chairman of Symphony, said the whole story was based on a fabrication. “There is clearly some confusion here,” he told PRW. “Symphony and its distributors have never sold any bags to Rema and no business deal with them has therefore been terminated.
“What seems to have happened is that someone has taken some bags and was surprised that they did not degrade quickly on a desk in their office, which they were never intended to do. Similar bags degraded as intended in the open environment.
“The purpose of oxo-biodegradability is to cause the plastic to degrade if it becomes litter in the open environment, and timescale depends on the amount of UV light and other environmental factors to which it is exposed. We are happy to send technical personnel to Rwanda to explain the science and perform whatever further tests may be necessary.”
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